Previous studies had identified a number of changes which front-line service staff could usefully make to enhance their communications and those of their clients who have intellectual disabilities. These were incorporated into a training programme delivered in the workplace that involved a self-selected group of 24 experienced staff working either in small-scale residential setting and day centres. Analysis of video-recordings made before and after the training showed that although most clients had become more active communicators (particularly when they were engaged in shared activities with staff), significant changes in staff behaviours as a whole were not observed. However increased responsiveness from the staff did correlate significantly with increases in the client's communication acts. In addition qualitative reports from staff and tutors pinpointed specific changes which staff had made. The difficulties of evaluating changes in staff-client communications are discussed and four features for training staff in communication are identified as essential; namely it should be work-based, client focused, mentor-guided and effective strategies documented and shared.
|International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
|Published (in print/issue) - 1 Jul 2000